A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pastoral Prayer (May 29/Memorial Day Weekend) - Athens First UMC

[Once in a while, the appointed scripture reading will line up perfectly for a non-liturgical calendar holiday such as Memorial Day. Yesterday, our Gospel reading from Luke focused on a Roman military officer who surprised Jesus by believing that he would be able to heal his servant. Click here for yesterday's sermon about Jesus and the surprising faith of a Roman centurion.] 

O God, on this Memorial Day weekend, we are thankful for those who have served in the armed forces and who now rest from their labors. We are grateful for their sacrifice, for their love of country, and for their pursuit of freedom for all people.

We pray that their sacrifices would not be in vain. Help us each of us to do our part in seeking peace, rather than conflict; in seeking common ground, rather than division; and in seeking mutual understanding, rather than fear and mistrust.

O God, we owe these brave men and women who have served our country, not to mention the generations who will come after us, to leave this world a better place. Thank you that we are part of a church that is seeking to make a difference in our community and world. Remind us that every backpack at Trimble Elementary School, every coin that is donated to the Athens Food Pantry, every swing of a hammer to build a new home for Habitat for Humanity, and every dozen cookies donated to the Kairos Prison Ministry are all important ways for us to help make this world a better place.

As we prepare for the summer season, help us to not take a vacation from our faith, but to use this more relaxed time as a way to grow closer to you. Help us to slow down and to remember that you have called us to enjoy your beautiful creation.

May this season of picnics, of vacations, of grilling out, of swiping away cicadas, and of trimming bushes be a time for us to appreciate yet a new season in our lives. We also think of those who are facing a different kind of new season in their lives. We pray for those who going through a season of loss, a season of a job search, a season of finding a new church home, a season of adjusting to a new community, a season of caring for an aging parent. O God, be with us as we go through these new seasons, some more difficult than others.

In this season that the church calls, Ordinary Time, this long season that will take us all the way into late Fall, help us to use this time to steadily grow in our faith. Teach us to appreciate the green altar cloths in our sanctuary, since we’re going to be seeing them for a really, really, long time, like for the next four months. May these green altar cloths remind us that sometimes our spiritual growth takes time.

Help us to not be in hurry, even as we pray the prayer you taught your disciples and now invite us to pray together saying…

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

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